EAST ORANGE, NJ — The members of the East Orange-based Jerzee Trendsetterz Motorcycle Club and their friends and fellow bike enthusiasts spent Thanksgiving feeding the hungry and homeless in the parking lot of the Western Beef Supermarket on Main Street.
Jose Valencia, who ate there, said he was thankful they did. He was one of the many fed on Thanksgiving Day, thanks to the Jerzee Trendsetterz and friends.
“I got a nice Thanksgiving meal and that’s a blessing. I was headed toward the church for dinner, if not for this, to get my little Thanksgiving,” said Valencia on Thursday, Nov. 26. “That’s what Thanksgiving is about — if you can to give something back.”
Valencia said he was thankful for the Trendsetterz and other motorcycle clubs that got together to feed the public on Thursday, Nov. 26.
“That’s a nice thought of them to spread some love and care,” said Valencia. “It’s a beautiful thing. You have the wherewithal to spread a little caring and joy.”
Craig Wright, a member of the East Orange Zoning Board, also serves as the president of the Jerzee Trendsetterz. He said Valencia was correct about the true meaning of Thanksgiving and the true spirit behind it, adding that although the modern celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday focuses on the food, it’s not really just about the food.
“Our main goal, like everybody should be doing right now, is to give back,” said Wright on Thursday, Nov. 26. “So we try to make sure, not just on Thanksgiving that we do every year, but we also feed twice a month at Newark Penn Station. But Thanksgiving, we feed in front of our home here at 6 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. in East Orange, right across the street from Western Beef supermarket. So it’s kind of like breaking bread at home with our family.”
Wright said, “It’s all about giving back.” He also said he appreciates all the other clubs that came out on Thursday, Nov. 26, to help serve the public.
But then again, Wright said that is what family members are supposed to do for one another.
“We’re all one big family. You may see different vests and different jackets, but we’re all one big family and that’s why we all come together on days like this, to let people know that we’re not what people think,” said Wright. “Instead of calling it ‘Thanksgiving,’ we call it ‘Thanks and Giving.’
“I founded the Trendsetterz in 2012; our whole goal was about family and we all had the same mindset of giving back. And of course, we all had the same interests, whether it’s cars, motorcycles and things like that, so what we do is put it all together. We come out and we make sure our focus every day is: How can we better our community before we jump on these bikes and jump in these cars.”
Wright said his motorcycle club has more than 15 initiatives East Orange alone, including shoveling fire hydrants when the snow hits the ground, community feedings and trying to get children off the streets. He said the group speaks to a lot of the gang members about leaving that lifestyle and doing something positive with their lives, all with a focus on giving back to the community.
“It’s all about everybody stop talking about it and getting out here and doing it and that’s why one of the big things we do is take care of the empty lots — we don’t lift the heavy debris, but if we see a lot that needs to be cleaned up, we don’t ask for anything from the city; we go and do it ourselves,” said Wright. “We don’t want to limit ourselves to East Orange, but to us, this is where everything happens — right here in the streets of our hometown. When the streets call us, we’re right here. No matter what it’s for, we’re here.”
Wright and others who volunteered their time and resources on Thursday, Nov. 26, said they were called to serve the public Thanksgiving dinner, so that’s what they did.